The government has now clarified its guidance on this issue. Employees on fixed term contracts can be furloughed – provided they are on the company payroll as at 28th February. Their contracts can be renewed or extended during the furlough period without breaking the terms of the scheme.
This means that employees who were on fixed term contracts that were due to end anyway can have them extended – even though the extension is manufactured – solely so that they can benefit from the furlough scheme.
In addition, even if the contract has now expired it is possible under the scheme to re-engage that individual and furlough them.
Please go back to your previous employer with this guidance - from the PACT website - and ask them to confirm that they are happy to furlough you. Please bear in mind that many companies are still trying to work through some legitimate logistical issues - like getting the right wording on new/ renewed contracts, and cash-flowing furloughed employees (the government is unlikely to reimburse them for at least a month or two.)
So please show patience and understanding with the companies, and work with them.
If they are still refusing to furlough you, please ask for a reason and notify us.